Shared experiences lead to sharing experiences

This is a guest post from Spike Jones — Group Director of Engagement at WCG and co-author of the book Brains on Fire: Igniting Powerful, Sustainable Word of Mouth Movements. See the original post this is adapted from and more like it on his blog.

There’s a lot of talk lately around the concept that shared experiences are the future of marketing.

Sharing experiencesWhen I first heard and read about it though, my mind went a different direction. You see, what these good folks are referring to is sharing your experiences — which is a no-brainer in the social media infatuated world we now live in. Yes, people are going to share their life experiences online with all the various media tools that we have in our pocket and on our desktop. And enabling people to share is a key element in staying relevant from a brand perspective.

But what I was thinking about was actually sharing experiences with others in the context that they are there — in that moment — sharing the experience with you (offline or online). And that got me thinking about if when you’re part of a group experience, are you more likely to share it on your social sites? Mind you, I don’t have any research to back this up (yet), but I would venture an educated guess that when you’re a part of a group shared experience, it makes a bigger, lasting impression on you than something that you experience all by yourself.

It’s the difference between trying to explain all the details yourself and having a group story-telling experience that can live beyond you. Like when you get together with friends and retell those stories from your college days. You feed off of one another. The story comes alive again and again. There is a close bond formed with people who experience something the same time as you do. You each have your own take on it, but it revolves around a core. All because you shared that experience in the moment.

Which brings me to my point:

Yes, we want people to share their experiences with others online. But perhaps it starts with creating experiences that they can take part in as a group. Think ambassador programs. Think customized events. Think reunions. Shared experiences lead to sharing experiences.

Yes, it’s still up to us as marketers to provide the reason and means to share those life moments. And if we frame it up in this new angle, a whole new world of possibilities open up for us. It’s something to consider.

About Spike Jones

Spike Jones is a results-proven communications professional, specializing in digital and offline word of mouth marketing. With more than 15 years of experience, the career path goes something like this: Baylor University; a decade at Brains on Fire; SVP of the Customer Experience team at Fleishman-Hillard; Group Director, Engagement at WCG; and now SVP, Managing Director SW Region at Edelman Digital. Spike is also a co-author of the book Brains on Fire: Igniting Powerful, Sustainable, Word of Mouth Movements.

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